Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller returns, Sabres clinch playoff spot

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It was a huge night in Buffalo as superstar netminder Ryan Miller returned to the crease to help the Sabres earn an exciting 4-3 overtime win and a coveted playoff berth. Fans walking into the HSBC Arena may have hoped for the playoffs—but seeing Miller come onto the ice to start the 3rd period surprised just about everyone. There’s no word whether Jhonas Enroth was pulled because he suffered an injury in the 2nd period or if it was because he gave up two goals in 39 seconds during the middle frame. Whatever the reason, Miller returned to the ice, the Sabres are in the playoffs, the Flyers have lost five straight, and all is right in Buffalo.

Things didn’t start out so great for the Sabres. They fell behind the Flyers 3-2 going into the final frame—but the 3rd period provided some of the most exciting 22 minutes fans in Buffalo have seen all year. They scored the game-tying goal halfway through the 3rd period, and then watched Thomas Vanek split the Philadelphia defense for the game-winning breakaway goal. Anytime the night ends with the announcement, “Playoff tickets go on sale Monday,” it was a successful evening.

The return for Ryan Miller marked his first ice-time since a right collarbone injury forced him to miss four games. Even though Jhonas Enroth had an impressive stint in his place, there’s no doubt the Sabres are excited to have Miller back in his familiar place. This season, Miller has a .915 save percentage and 2.60 goals against en route to his 33-22-8 record. The worst part for the Sabres is that Miller was playing his best hockey of the year in the weeks preceding his injury.

Tonight was a reminder of exactly where Miller stands as the playoffs approach. He made 8 saves in the 3rd period and never faced a shot in overtime as he earned the 21 minute victory. However, he was beaten by the first shot he faced that went off the side of the net and showed a little bit of rust that would be expected after missing a handful of games. If nothing else, that should explain just how good Miller can be for the Sabres. He looked rusty and didn’t play to the best of his ability, yet still was able to shut the Flyers down and help his team to victory.

Assuming Enroth was pulled due to a bruised ego, Lindy Ruff and the Sabres will have a decision to make going into their final game of the regular season Saturday night in Columbus. Now that they have secured a playoff spot, they can give him 4-5 days rest before the beginning of the playoffs. Alternatively, they can give him 60 minutes of pressure-free NHL action to get his timing back before the games really start to matter.

Either way, it’s a good decision for team to have to make.

Julien explains comments about Lundqvist’s ‘acting’

Claude Julien

We’re now over two days removed from last Friday’s tilt between the Bruins and the Rangers, but the coaches from both teams seem unwilling to move on.

Moments after that game, Claude Julien claimed that Henrik Lundqvist did some “acting” on the ice to sell a goalie interference call on Brad Marchand.

On Saturday, Alain Vigneault fired back by saying that Julien needed to get his eyesight checked. Vigneault also compared Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton in the 2011 Stanley Cup final to Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan in Friday’s game.

Now it was Julien’s turn to address the “issue” at hand.

Julien clarified his original comment about Lundqvist and he also tackled some of Vigneault’s comments.

“I think it’s pretty obvious what I said . . . I thought Lundqvist sold it,” said Julien. “Not for a second did I ever question Henrik Lundqvist as a person, or a goaltender or any of that. We all know how good he is as a goaltender, and I know he’s a good person. I’ve met him at the All-Star games and all that stuff.

Julien on his eyesight: “As far as my eyes, I’m not the one that compared Beleskey’s hit to Aaron Rome’s [hit]. We’ll just leave it at that.”

It’s time for both sides to move on.

Good news: Colaiacovo traveling with Sabres

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It was a scary sight.

Carlo Colaiacovo fell to his hands and knees after taking a cross-check to the throat from Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson (above).

Arvidsson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, while Colaiacovo suffered a dented trachea on the play.

After the game, both Dan Bylsma and Peter Laviolette agreed that there was no malicious intent on Arvidsson’s part.

“I don’t think there was intent there to maliciously cross-check,” Bylsma said. “They kind of lose the puck, turn and his stick is right at that level and delivers a blow. When you look at it, it’s a pretty stiff cross-check to Carlo’s neck.”

“It was tough for Arvidsson,” said Laviolette. “I don’t think he had any bad intentions. He just ran into somebody and the stick got caught a little bit high, but just a tough turn of events.”

The Sabres defenseman left the game and was treated at a nearby hospital, but there is some good news to report.

According to the Buffalo News, Colaiacovo was released from hospital and he was able to travel to Detroit with his teammates.

It’s unclear how long he’ll be out.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.